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Oblivious Transformation

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"Hey, Kronk, can you top me off, pal?"

Lampwick: What's he think I look like? A jackass?
Pinocchio: You sure do!

The opposite of a Painful Transformation, one that the recipient and/or victim doesn't feel.

Usually done with the transformee transforming in their sleep to wake up to their new form, or the transformee gradually changing over time. Stock phrases include: "Why is everyone taller/smaller?" and "Why are you looking at me like I've got the head of an [animal]?" If they got bigger, they may assume their clothes Shrunk in the Wash.

Always a result of a Baleful Polymorph or Involuntary Shapeshifting, as a Voluntary Shapeshifter would know when they're transforming themself (unless suffering from Power Incontinence). They may discover their transformation in a Mirror Reveal.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: Atsushi Nakajima wasn't aware of his transformations into a tiger, until he ran into some members of the Armed Detective Agency.
  • In Howl's Moving Castle, Sophie doesn't notice that the spell that makes her look like an old woman is gradually weakening over time as her self-confidence increases.
  • The Misfit of Demon King Academy: After being resurrected following being killed by Anos, Emilia Ludowell initially is just angry that she was revived without any clothes. But she does not realize she was reduced from being a pure demon to a half-demon until Anos asks her to check herself with her demonic eyes when she finally realizes what happened to her.
  • Pokémon: In "Hocus Pokemon", Ash has turned into a Pikachu by the end of the episode, but he doesn't notice this until Misty brings out a mirror to show it.
  • UQ Holder!: In Chapter 171, Touta Konoe 's new Super Mode transforms him into a taller, dark-skinned, and more muscular version of himself. When Kuroumaru fails to recognize him, it turns out that Touta didn't even notice the drastic change in his appearance.

    Fan Works 
  • FAITH: On the second page, it's clear that Misty has become a Pikachu, but only realizes it on page 5, after Ash's Pikachu tells her on page four.
  • In Chapter 9 of The Portal, Alex doesn't realize that he's become a dragon until his friend, who has also been turned into a dragon, tells him to look at his hand.
  • In Blue Sky, Wheatley is transferred into a humanoid Hard Light body by Chell, but doesn't appear to notice until she shows him his face in a piece of reflective glass.
  • In the Spooky Month fanfic A Sweet Surprise, after the Candy Dealer turns Kevin into void, he decides to do the same to Skid and Pump, using Kevin telling a story as a distraction. Skid and Pump are so caught up in the story neither notice the shadows crawling up their bodies, to Candy Dealer's amusement. Skid and Pump do notice Skid has abruptly sprouted a tail, but both decide not to bring it up.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Bartok the Magnificent Ludmilla barely notices her transformation into a dragon. It's an interesting variation considering that she knows she's turning into something, but not exactly what that is, assuming she's going to become more beautiful.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Brother Bear: Kenai doesn't realize that he has been transformed into a bear until Tanana tells him that she can't speak Bear. This caused him to go check his reflection in the river and then he does a full-body check on himself, ending with him wagging his tail.
    • The Emperor's New Groove: Emperor Kuzco was completely unaware that he was being turned into a llama at Yzma's dinner. When he met Pacha, there was plenty of confusion until Pacha told Kuzco to wiggle his fingers in front of his face. That's when he noticed his hoof instead of his hand.
    • Moana: After Moana saves Maui and recovers his hook (that lets him transform into animals), Maui starts to thank her, but is oblivious to the fact that his transformation malfunctioned and he's talking while having the upper half of a shark. A few seconds later he seems to be normal and sighs in relief...only to flop over because he now has the bottom half of a shark (and as such no legs).
    • Pinocchio: Lampwick is oblivious about being turned into a donkey until he starts braying. He then feels the fur and longer ears on his transformed head, and confirms his fears when he looks at his reflection in a mirror.
    • The Princess and the Frog: After Tiana kisses Naveen after he's first transformed and gets turned into a frog herself, she struggles out of her dress, then looks up at him wondering how he got all the way up there. It's not until Tiana sees herself in the mirror that she realized she turned into a frog.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • The transformations produced due to crossing the portal between the Pony and Human worlds are barely noticeable. In fact, in the first film Twilight doesn't even notice that she is a human until a dog-turned Spike tells her she has changed as well.
    • Neither do humans Twilight and Rainbow Dash in the special Spring Breakdown, until Sunset uses her horn to illuminate the cave they are in, allowing them to see Sunset's Pony form and realize what happened. (It's also worth noting that the only reason Sunset knows they are in Equestria is because she realized the "quicksand" they found was just sand covering the portal they later used, and not due to the transformation.)

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Casper: A Spirited Beginning, it isn't until Casper is thrown off a ghostly train, travels to the nearby city of living people and then unintentionally scares the hell out of everyone until he finally looks down at his feet and realizes that he doesn't have them anymore, leading him to discover that he indeed turned into a ghost.
  • In Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed, Scooby and Shaggy stumble upon a secret laboratory, and Scooby drinks some liquid in a fridge, which turns him into a tentacled blob. He doesn't realize this until Shaggy sees him. Shaggy also experiences this trope when he samples another liquid from the same fridge (thinking it might change Scooby back) and sees himself in the mirror on the fridge's door, realizing he has become a woman from the neck down.

  • In The Witches Bruno Jenkins was unaware he’d been turned into a mouse until the boy who serves as the narrator points it out to him.

    Live-Action TV 

  • We Are All Pokémon Trainers:
    • When Callum turns into an Oshawott for the first time, he doesn’t notice until Sephy mentions hearing an Oshawott.
    • Dio is completely unaware that he evolved into a Gliscor while asleep after grabbing the Razor Fang Kim dropped in his sleeping bag one night. When Dio wakes up, though, he is still perplexed of it until Sinatra points it out and tells Dio to look at himself, which he did, much to his initial shock. It wasn't until Dio sees his face in front of Kim's mirror that he realized he evolved, much to his sheer joy.

  • In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck transforms Bottom's head into that of a donkey. Bottom doesn't even notice and scares off his costars in the play when he returns for his next lines.

    Video Games 
  • The beginning of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy shows Daxter being turned into an ottsel/Precursor after accidently being knocked into a pool of Dark Eco. Apart from a sting, Daxter doesn't notice the change until he sees his hands, tail, and Jak staring at him in confusion.
  • The Scagdead in Resident Evil: Revelations is a former crewman of the Queen Zenobia who underwent a Viral Transformation from the t-Abyss virus. Unlike many of the infected, he's still cognizant, but keeps telling the people attacking him (in self-defense) that he's still human, despite that being very obviously not the case.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Mutant Gene Complex activation is like this, with the resultant iris change usually being sudden and unnoticed until someone points it out.
    • In Absinthe, Adam has his hair obliviously change color. His mom notices first, then he notices when he looks in the mirror:
      "Adam," Mom exclaimed, jumping and rushing to me. "What's wrong?" Then she blurted out, "Your hair..."
      Just as I was about to climb into the shower, my muscles seemed to turn into rubber and I staggered, barely catching myself before I fell onto the floor. I grabbed the bathroom counter and used it to hold myself up, but then I noticed my reflection in the mirror.
      "My hair," I gasped, staring at myself in blank confusion. My hair was... green.

    Western Animation 
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, the shapeshifter villain Clayface first discovers his new powers when he involuntarily shapeshifts while looking at a series of pictures, becoming each one in turn. He is completely unaware of this, and probably wouldn't have even noticed it happening if someone else in the room hadn't pointed it out.
  • In the Donkey Kong Country cartoon, one episode involves a device that can switch brains between characters, resulting in a number of characters switching bodies and not realizing it at first. Even after other characters point it out.
  • In The Flintstones episode "Monster Fred", Fred and Dino inadvertently end up the guinea pigs for a mad scientist's device (that in theory is a personality-swapper but instead has a "Freaky Friday" Flip effect on the subjects). Somehow, after the fact, Fred is unable to notice that he is now a dinosaur even when Barney, Wilma, and Betty point it out to him (nor does Dino notice that he's now Fred). The same thing applies when further swaps occur at the climax (including Fred switching with Barney, the men switching with their respective wives, and Dino switching with the mad scientist's assistant).
  • Exaggerated in the Gargoyles episode "The Mirror":
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In the short Duck Amuck, the animator draws Daffy an entirely new body, but Daffy doesn't notice until the animator draws him a mirror.
    • Hyde and Hare ends with Bugs drinking the Hyde formula and becoming a green rabbit monster, and he questions why the people in the park are running away from him.
    • In the Halloween Episode A-Haunting We Will Go, Speedy Gonzales standing in for Witch Hazel transforms Daffy into the same creature as Duck Amuck. Again, he doesn't notice, and in this case, still hasn't noticed by the end of the cartoon.
  • Samurai Jack:
    • In "Chicken Jack", an Evil Sorcerer curses Jack to turn into a chicken. Even though Jack is now much smaller and everyone else notices that he's a chicken, he doesn't realize what he's become until he does a Double Take of his image on a reflective surface.
    • In "Episode XCIX", Jack buys and eats a strange snack from a street vendor. His head (very briefly) transforms and looks like a colorful fish; his friend Ashi stares at his face with confusion, but Jack has no idea why. By the time it wears off, Jack still hadn't noticed anything.
  • The Scooby-Doo Show: In the episode "High Rise Hair Raiser", Scooby and Shaggy find a spellbook. Shaggy, not believing in magic, reads a random spell from it for laughs. The spell transforms him and Scooby into monsters, but they somehow fail to notice it, and have a laugh over the obviously "fake" spell. Shaggy then reads a counter-spell which turns them back to normal.
  • In Episode 8 of Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, Dakota doesn't notice she's turning into a mutant until Chris gives her a mirror. Even then, she doesn't realize what is happening until Scott points out it is a mirror, rather then a picture like she thought.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: Jack somehow inflicts this trope on himself multiple times with the Monkey Staff, a Wu that grants the wielder the powers and tail of a monkey, while slowly turning them into one. The first time, Jack only notices the tail and fails to realize the rest of the changes even as Wuya repeatedly points them out. The second time, Chase exploits Jack's obliviousness to the transformation in order to keep him out of Chase's plans. The real kicker is that the entire transformation can be instantly undone if the wielder simply lets go of the staff.
  • Young Justice: Miss Martian unconsciously changes her skin from green to Caucasian and has this pointed out by Black Canary. She freaks out at first because Canary said her skin was "white", and she is actually a White Martian, a subrace that's discriminated against on her homeworld, and she's been hiding this on Earth.


Video Example(s):


Duck Amuck

How well does it match the trope?

5 (34 votes)

Example of:

Main / ObliviousTransformation

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